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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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CBeebies breathes new life into old tales

Tellytales: The Sword In The Stone

Myths, legends and age-old tales from around the world are lifted off the pages and straight into a child's imagination in Tellytales, a vibrant, new 15-part series for CBeebies in March 2009.

Combining animation and live action, Tellytales is an innovative mix of pop-up book, silent movie and magical stage play with children playing the characters, telling the tales, helping create the artwork and performing all the songs.

From England's Jack And The Beanstalk to Egypt's Dancing Rose and North America's The Racing Princess to Russia's The Magic Porridge Pot, Tellytales immerses the audience in some of the world's most exciting traditional stories while exploring different cultures and landscapes.

"Children absolutely love being told these classic tales that have been handed down from generation to generation," says series producer Elen Rhys.

"Some stories are better known than others and many span national boundaries – for example we found around 300 versions of Cinderella.

"Many of the tales have a moral, too, but one thing they all have in common is the ability to enchant children wherever they are in the world."

In each episode, the tale or legend comes from a different country and combines traditional lighting, props, humour, make-up and costumes with cutting-edge virtual studio technology.

Under the guidance of artist Anthony Evans, children from primary schools in Cardiff helped to create the artwork for the series, incorporating the cultural artistic influences for each tale.

This was then brought to life by Cardiff-based animation company Dinamo to create the vibrant backdrops.

Elen Rhys auditioned around 350 schoolchildren from primary schools around the Cardiff area and then chose 35 children between the ages of four and 11 to bring the characters to life.

And two tuneful school choirs performed the songs, especially composed for the series by Andy Davies and Elen Rhys.

Other stories in the series include: The Sword In The Stone from Wales; The Emperor And The Nightingale by Hans Christian Anderson, based in China; King Midas from Greece; Snake Charmer from India; Muri On The Moon from Kenya; The "Bunyip" Baby from Australia; The Woodcarver And The Princess from Indonesia; and The Golden Duck from Poland.

Tellytales is a BBC Wales production commissioned for CBeebies by Michael Carrington, Controller, CBeebies.


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